Film Review: <em>Bombshell</em>
Dec 23 2019

Film Review: Bombshell

By: Fritz Esker

The story of how female Fox News anchors rebelled against sexual harassment from CEO Roger Ailes is retold in director Jay Roach's Bombshell.


Ailes (John Lithgow) resigned in 2016 in the aftermath of a lawsuit by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman). After Carlson's lawsuit, many other women came forward (including rising star Megyn Kelly, played by Charlize Theron) with similar allegations.

The film's script, by The Big Short co-writer Charles Randolph, does a good job of portraying the ugliness of Ailes' unwanted advances, especially in a scene where Ailes comes onto a composite character played by Margot Robbie. It also makes viewers understand why it's not easy for people to come forward when their job is potentially at stake (a lot of the film's drama comes from inter-office power dynamics).

The three female leads all acquit themselves well, with Theron particularly convincing as Megyn Kelly. The heavily made-up Lithgow also shines as Ailes. It's a role that requires him to simultaneously be intimidating, creepy, smart, and pathetic, but he pulls it off.

A subplot involving a lesbian Democrat who works for Fox News (Kate McKinnon) is an invention, and more importantly, feels like an invention (no based-on-a-true-story movie is ever entirely true, but sometimes the fudging is more apparent). However, that's a minor quibble in what is otherwise a timely, interesting movie.

★★★ stars (out of four)

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